Wolves and Birmingham contest FA Cup replay
Updated: January 16, 2012, 01:40
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LONDON(AP) Wolverhampton Wanderers may trade divisions with Birmingham at the end of the season, but the relegation-threatened Premier League club will get a chance to put its local rival in its place when they meet in the FA Cup on Wednesday.
The central England sides will replay their third-round match at Molineux after a 0-0 draw on Jan. 7.
Birmingham are the form side going into the game, hovering just outside the promotion playoff spot in the second-tier Championship following a 6-0 win at Millwall on the weekend, while Wolves are just a point above the Premier League relegation zone.
But Wolves showed they can still compete with in-form sides with a 1-1 draw at third-place Tottenham on Satursday and manager Mick McCarthy is looking for his team to carry that improved form into Wednesday's match.
"We have been harder to beat in recent weeks, without a doubt,'' McCarthy said. "We'd been tough and determined as we always are and we were well organized.
"I didn't want any more heroic failures.''
The chance for local bragging rights should mean neither side is complacent about a match that both might understandably place below league fixtures on their list of priorities .
Birmingham and its manager Chris Hughton are trying to get back into the Premier League and Wolves are fighting to stay there.
Local pride will also play a big part in one of Tuesday's five third-round replays, with Leicester hosting Nottingham Forest following the East Midlands rivals' 0-0 draw.
Tensions already spilled over when 10 people were arrested at the original Jan. 7 meeting. Most were for public order offenses but police are also investigating reports of racist chants against fans of Leicester, a city with a large Asian population.
Both sides are laboring in the League Championship, with Leicester mired in mid-table and Forest in the relegation zone after a 3-0 defeat against leader Southampton. Forest has not scored in six home games, so hope a change of venue will bring a change of luck.
"It's frustrating as hell not scoring as many goals as we could score with the opportunities we create,'' Forest manager Steve Cotterill said. "It was like that before I came here and it's like that now.''
After losing his opening match 1-0 to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday, Mark Hughes aims for his first win as manager of Queens Park Rangers when the London side hosts third-tier Milton Keynes Dons.
Struggling Millwall hosts Dagenham and Redbridge, Brighton visits Wrexham, and Premier League struggler Bolton is at home against lowly Macclesfield.
Bolton lost 3-0 to defending Premier League champion Manchester United on Saturday and is in the topflight relegation zone but manager Owen Coyle is hoping a game against fourth-tier opposition can provide a morale-boosting win.
"Our younger players are continuing to get better and that will stand us in good stead for the remainder of the season,'' Coyle said. "The courage that was displayed in the second half when we took the game to Manchester United showed that we have the belief that we can win games.'' 2